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Out & About in Cleveland

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Human Rights Campaign Fundraiser and Cuyahoga Democratic Party Dinner

A few weeks ago we attended a Human Rights Campaign party at the Bevy in Birdtown on Madison Avenue in Lakewood where were learned that there would be a fundraiser on Sunday, March 22nd, to provide an autistic boy with a service dog. We bought a ticket and decided to make this our first event for the day. When we arrived at the Bevy the mood was joyful and there were already quite a few people there. We stayed for a while and spoke to the child's mother who told us that the arrangements have already been made for her son to soon be matched up with a five year old black poodle/golden retriever mix which was trained by people in prison. The cost for such an animal is $25,000 to $31,000 but, due to other contributions, the family will only have to raise $9,000 themselves.

The mother beamed happily as she told us that this fundraiser should put them over the top and they will have necessary funds. With so many unfortunate things going on in the world these days a story like this makes us hopeful; even though our contribution was only a small drop in a big bucket we are still glad that we took part in something so worthy.

Late Sunday afternoon, we headed over to the Intercontinental Hotel on Carnegie Avenue to attend the Annual Dinner of the Democrats of Cuyahoga County. This year the theme was "Local Roots, Growing Leadership" and the speakers were all people who were working at the local level or had started their careers there like Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, and the Ohio Democratic Party Chairs Mr. David Pepper and Ms. Nina Turner.

All gave very good speeches but the highlights for us were when Mayor Jackson announced that Local 310 had entered into an agreement to provide apprenticeships to the students of Max Hayes High School. Congresswoman Kaptur took to the stage with a voter registration card and said (very rightfully so) that it was appalling that so few of the people who were eligible to vote actually voted in the 2014 general election. U.S. Senator Brown talked about his recent visit to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama where he met Congressman John Lewis who is campaigned heroically for civil rights back in the 1960's and was physically beaten for it. Senator Brown said that we should all follow Congressman Lewis' example of making "good necessary trouble in trying to change things." County Executive Budish invited all of the attendees to his April 15th State of the County address that will take place in the Parma Library.

Needless to say we said hello to quite a few people that we knew this evening and had a good time sitting with Ms. Stephanie Turner who is part of the Corporate Responsibility Group at KeyBank and with Mr. David H. Bowen who is a principal with the architectural firm "Richard L. Bowen and Associates, Inc." Both Ms. Turner and Mr. Bowen were very familiar with the work of Margaret W. Wong and Associates and Mr. Bowen told us that his firm had consulted with our office regarding H1B visas.

We said hello to Ms. Connie Pillich, the democratic candidate for Ohio Treasurer in 2014. Last year around this time Ms. Pillich's campaign was in full swing and she told us that it was a little weird being here on this night by herself without her campaign staff. We spent a few minutes talking to Judge John O'Donnell, a 2014 candidate for Ohio Supreme Court. Mr. O'Donnell told us that he definitely plans to run again in 2016 for an open seat on the court this time.

Another thing that we liked was when Senator Brown thanked by name the workers who served his table and it was pointed out that the Intercontinental Hotel was chosen because it was a union establishment.

Along these lines, we, too, are grateful because both our server Ms. Alice Ruffin and Ms. Karen Connavino of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party worked hard to get us a vegetarian meal for the dinner. It turned out to be a delicious eggplant casserole and one of our best evening meals during the last two weeks.

Thank you again, Alice and Karen!

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